Arsenal are to quickly turn their focus towards player sales following their £200m splurge – with four players informed by Edu they will be axed by the club this summer.
The Gunners performed above expectations in finishing as Premier League runners-up during an excellent 2022/23 campaign. And while there will be some lingering disappointment they could not secure a first title success in 19 years, they can still take pride in their achievements.
The club, though, are keen to ensure their rapid progress does not stall and deals for Kai Havertz, Jurrien Timber and Declan Rice have all been announced.
To that end, Arsenal have already smashed through the £210m barrier with those three arrivals.
The Gunners though might not be done quite yet. And Edu and Mikel Arteta will continue to monitor the market for other potential additions. To that end, another raid on Ajax for an attacking midfielder has now been suggested.
Understandably, though, Arsenal want to lighten their load before actively pursuing any more deals.
And as a result, reports claim the club have now informed four players they are up for sale this summer.
The first of these, Nicolas Pepe, should come as no surprise.
The one-time club record signing has rarely looked like he would deliver for the Gunners since a £72m move from Lille. And Arsenal insider, Charles Watts, revealed earlier this week why the Frenchman has been told he has no future at Emirates Stadium.
However, while Pepe looks likely to be the highest-profile casualty, he won’t be the only one.
Arsenal plans to offload Cedric Soares hit stumbling block
In addition, Edu is also actively looking to move Rob Holding, Arthur Okonkwo and Cedric Soares on.
Holding has been in talks with Besiktas, though progress on a potential move has stalled. The 27-year-old made 24 appearances last season but is now considered surplus to requirements following the arrival of Timber.
However, the first exit may well be that of Soares.
The Portuguese right-back has fallen out of favour, spending time on loan with Fulham last season.
And according to Sport, Villarreal have opened preliminary talks with Arsenal over a possible deal.
They have identified the 31-year-old as an affordable option as they strive to strengthen their defence.
But while agreeing a fee with Arsenal should not be an issue, striking an agreement with the player could prove trickier.
Indeed, Fabrizio Romano has provided an update on the possible move. Speaking to Caught Offside, he also had more info on possible exits for the other aforementioned trio.
“As previously reported, Arsenal are focusing on player sales after deals for Declan Rice, Jurrien Timber and Kai Havertz,” Romano said.
“Nicolas Pepe had opportunities from Saudi but it’s still in stand-by now. Cedric Soares is attracting interest from different countries, including Spain with Villarreal. But his salary is too big for them now.
“There’s no news on Rob Holding after Besiktas interest; Arthur Okonkwo will leave in a permanent transfer.”
Arsenal won’t expect to generate much in the way of revenue for the quartet. However, with none of the four featuring in the club’s long-term plans, Edu merely wants them off their books and to save on their salaries.